NJ’s Real ID requires you to provide sensitive info for scanning
New Jersey’s Real ID driver’s license program has been launched, but officials are warning those who want one that they will need to be patient because it may take several months before you’ll be able to get one for yourself.
Starting Oct. 1 2020, unless you want to carry around your passport, a Real ID driver’s license will be needed to get on a domestic flight or enter federal building or military installation.
The New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission is starting the Real ID program by appointment only at the Trenton MVC Office and five other undisclosed locations because they are concerned it may initially take up to half an hour for each applicant to complete the Real ID process and they don’t want people waiting on line for hours.
To get a Real ID driver’s license you will need to present two proofs of residence, one proof of your Social Security number and six points of ID. All that information will have to be scanned into an MVC computer system, as per the Real ID requirements put forth by the federal Department of Homeland Security.
Legitimate privacy and security concerns have been raised because you may wind up presenting a bank statement with your account number on it or a debit card as part of your required documentation. But MVC Chief Administrator Sue Fulton said if that’s the case, there is nothing to worry about.
“We will allow you to black out the bank account number, the dollars. Basically, all we need is your name and address and the institution’s address," she said.
“We’re actually going to set up stations at agencies with Sharpies, with black duct tape, with instruction on how to black out information you don’t want scanned.”
But you may be wondering once your information is scanned, where does it go, and how safe is it?
“The software with the scanning equipment loads the scans directly into an encrypted database, and this information resides in the state of New Jersey under our care,” said Fulton.
“Yes, the federal government would have access to that database for specific permitted purposes, law enforcement purposes, but it’s loaded into an encrypted database.”
She noted MVC security was dramatically improved years ago by the Fix DMV Commission, which was enacted by then-Gov. Jim McGreevey following the 9/11 attacks, when it was learned some of the hijackers had been carrying New Jersey driver’s licenses.
She saidas the Real ID program was being developed, security was tightened even more in conjunction with the Office of Homeland Security and Preparedness.
Fulton said when it comes to security, “New Jersey actually is one of the most protective states in terms of our citizens' privacy and the privacy of their information in the country.”
She said to put your name on the list to be able to get a Real ID appointment at an MVC office near you, and to see exactly which documentation you will need to bring in once you get that appointment, you should go to reaIDnj.com
You can contact reporter David Matthau at David.Matthau@townsquaremedia.com